The only time Pete Lee offended his wife with his comedy routine was when he called her "fat" on live radio.
Lee, who was a finalist on NBC's "Last Comic Standing," and regularly appears on shows on Comedy Central, often rips on his wife Jamie (Millward) Lee, an Altoona native.
Jamie has thick skin, but the joke referring to her 15-pound weight gain, touched a sore spot.
Comic Pete Lee will be coming to Burgi's Roundhouse Bar and Grill at 8 p.m. Dec. 23.
"I don't want people to think he's a [jerk] when you're writing this, but I was just a little sensitive about it," Jamie said. "I hit the roof and I called into the radio station and very politely ripped him a new one."
Though Jamie was angry about the "fat" joke, she usually loves her husband's comedy routines and often tours with him around the country. She is especially looking forward to Lee's upcoming gig in Altoona, her hometown. The Lees, who live in New York City, will be visiting Jamie's family in Altoona for Christmas, and Lee will perform at Burgi's Roundhouse Bar and Grill at 8 p.m. on Dec. 23. Following Lee's performance will be music by Slacker Theory.
Lee, who grew up in Janesville, Wis., loves Altoona and can't wait to perform in a small town atmosphere.
If you go
Who: Comedian Pete Lee
When: 8 p.m. Dec. 23
Where: Burgi's Roundhouse Bar and Grill, 1830 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd., Altoona
Tickets: $10; Advance tickets available at Burgi's and Thompson's Pharmacy on Chestnut Avenue in Altoona. Tickets will also be available at the door.
"I do think that Altoona is a neat town. You could be sitting in a dumpster and have the right people there and it's fun. People in Altoona are just awesome, but maybe my view of Altoona may be different from other people," Lee said. "New York is hustling and bustling. In Altoona it slows down a little bit. It's more like the town I grew up in."
While New Yorkers have the world at their fingertips, they are perpetually angry, Lee said.
"People in Altoona could have nothing to do, but they'll find fun; I mean beer," he joked.
Because Lee was coming to Altoona for Christmas, he didn't think twice about accepting the offer to perform at Burgi's.
"We are fortunate Pete agreed to do the show," Bob Kasun, spokesman for Burgi's, said. "Pete's comedy act is very fun and clever. He likes to poke fun at himself [for] coming from Wisconsin and making a living in New York City."
Lee always had a sense of humor, but he said his high school friends were much funnier. In college, Lee used a lot of his high school buddies' one liners around his new college friends, and everyone thought he was hilarious.
"I picked up a good sense of comic timing, I guess," Lee said.
It was during college when Lee decided he wanted to be a comedian. While he was earning a degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota, he was thinking about comedy and acting.
After college, Lee landed a job at an advertising agency and eventually was running a division of the company by the time he was 23. On the weekends, Lee worked on his comedy, landing local gigs and occasionally touring.
When Lee graduated college, he promised his dad he would work for three years at his "real" job.
"It was three years on the button when I stopped working there," Lee said." "I really wanted to do comedy and I wanted to act and I wanted to film things."
By the time he quit his job, he had become known in the comedy industry.
"I started doing comedy full time. I was already very good. It sounds cocky to say that, but if you're a plumber, you say you're good, so I admit I'm a good comedian," Lee said.
Comedy Central contacted Lee to appear on "Premium Blend," which was filmed in New York City, where he met Jamie. She is an event planner in New York City.
He later filmed "Comedy Central Presents," and competed on NBC's "Last Comic Standing."
"There's so much in comedy that's just dumb luck, and I've had a lot," Lee said.
Lee's style of comedy is pretty clean, though he's not afraid to tell a couple dirty jokes or throw in a curse. He usually makes fun of himself and he might gently make fun of people in the audience. Lee said he follows George Carlin's rule: "The Rule of Crapping: If you crap on yourself first, you can crap on other people and other things and people give you leeway to do that as long as you make fun of yourself first."
Though Lee occasionally gets heckled like every other comic, he doesn't usually bomb. As a new comic, he bombed about one in every 10 shows. Now, it's one in every 200 crowds, he says. In a weird way, Lee kind of enjoys the crowds who don't laugh as easily.
"If you do get in a situation where everybody hates you and nobody is laughing, I almost feel like that's special," Lee said. "All of those really boring people came together on the same night. That's special."
Lee enjoys the challenge of standup, trying new jokes and never knowing what you're going to get in terms of crowd reaction.
He's ready to take on the Altoona crowd, even though Jamie's grandmother might be in the audience that night.
"There's talk that her grandmother might come out. Then, I will be the biggest church boy on stage," Lee, said, laughing. "Her grandmother is one of the funniest people. At Thanksgiving we all sit around the table and make fun of each other. It's the closest thing to comics sitting around the table that you can get."
Lee said he's excited to perform in Altoona in front of Jamie's family and friends, and he plans to hang out and party after his standup routine.
"That's going to be the fun part - getting to hang out with everybody afterward," Lee said.